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Plans to close road traffic offence loophole

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New rules would allow police across the EU to pursue traffic offences against drivers whose vehicles were registered in another member state.

The European Commission is hoping to close a current loophole in the law, which means that non-residents drivers are escaping prosecution for offences such as speeding.

It is estimated that the new rules, which were set out last week, could save 350 to 400 lives a year across the continent.

Brake, the UK’s best-known road safety charity, is among the organisations who have thrown their support behind the proposals.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, said: “Through our support services for people bereaved and injured by road crashes, we see time and time again the devastation caused by illegal driving behaviour.

“The impact is just as catastrophic regardless of where the driver or vehicle is from. Imagine how insulting and incomprehensible it must be then for victims when a driver who puts lives at risk escapes prosecution because their vehicle is registered in another country.

“Illegal driving crosses borders, so enforcement must cross borders too. We are fully behind this proposal, which would help prevent needless tragedies across Europe.”

According to the European Commission, non-resident drivers account for around five per cent of road traffic in the EU, but are responsible for 15 per cent of speeding offences.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: “Letting foreign-registered drivers off the hook when they speed or drink and drive is unsafe but it’s also unfair.

“These rules are a smart way of deterring drivers from dangerous driving when they go abroad but will also help member states track down offenders that put other people’s lives at risk.”